AFL-CIO has ‘serious doubts’ that labor rules in USMCA will be effective

November 01, 2018

Editor’s note: Labor unions will be important as to whether the Democrats support the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. There will be significant jockeying as this deal comes up for a vote next year. 

Labor provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, while an improvement over the original NAFTA, are unlikely to make a “meaningful difference” for North American workers, the AFL-CIO said this week.

[ Isabelle Hoagland | November 1, 2018 | Inside US Trade]

The labor group, in pre-hearing comments submitted to the U.S. International Trade Commission, said the new deal’s lack of “labor-specific monitoring or enforcement provisions (such as an independent secretariat or certification requirements)” were of concern to the largest federation of unions in the U.S. The AFL-CIO reiterated that it had yet to take a final position on USMCA and added that it would welcome some changes.

“While there are positive provisions in the renegotiated NAFTA, including improved labor and investment terms, both the labor rules and enforcement tools should be improved,” the AFL-CIO said in Oct. 30 comments. “There are also provisions in the agreement that undermine the interests of workers and consumers, as a result of provisions including pharmaceutical monopolies, financial services, and regulatory practices.”

Most importantly for the AFL-CIO, the deal lacks rules that would “create greater confidence” the labor chapter would be “swiftly of certainly enforced,” the comments state. Accordingly, it has “serious doubts that the improved rules will make a meaningful difference to North American working families without additional provisions, assured funding, and implementing language.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, meanwhile, was much more sanguine about the new deal.“We conclude that the new NAFTA is a better deal for American workers and our members than the original NAFTA,” the group wrote in Oct. 30 comments.

Read more at Inside US Trade

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